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Old February 15th, 2008, 11:57 AM
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The Drama Du Jour

I already know what I'm going to do about this, but I wanted other people's opinions. There is probably a better way to handle it.

I got a call this morning from my walking buddy. She's a friend... not one of those DEEP FRIENDSHIP friends, but a friend.

She asked if I knew the reason So-and-So quit such-and-such activity. Her DH and her BF are in charge of such-and-such activity.

Well, yes, I do know. But I don't know directly from So-and-So... I heard it from a third party who asked me to not say anything. So it's hearsay in a court of law and besides that, Third Party asked me not to say anything (because *she* was repeating a secret). I also have heard hints... nothing direct, just hints at the underlying unhapiness... from so-and-so, to whom I speak frequently (which is why my friend called to ask).

So I told my friend that no, I didn't know.

Now, at this point I have no problem. I think it would be wrong for me to say anything; it is not my business and I do not tell secrets (except on the internet! )

**Need to defend Third Party here for secret spillage... She was giving me a pep talk. The activity was something she and I both would have liked to participated in, but we were excluded. So-and-so told Third Party her opinion of it and how she felt excluded even though she was participating, which Third Party shared with me to make me feel better.**

Okay... NOW for the reason I am second-guessing myself.

My friend's DH is taking it personally. It is NOT personal as in "he's a jerk" (he's not). It *IS*, however, because of things he and friend's BF were doing. They were shining the spotlight on (and giving opportunities to) the flashier participants and ignoring the contributions of So-and-So - a quiet, trustworthy, unassuming worker bee. So it just.wasn't.fun for her. She felt as excluded as those of us who weren't asked.

Part of me thinks it would be HELPFUL to him and to friend's BF if I could find a way to gently explain how many hurt feelings are being left in the wake of this activity. (including mine, which makes me doubt my own judgment on this). Another part of me thinks that much of their enthusiasm for the activity (the DH and BF) is because they are enjoying so much the spotlight on the flashy participants... And TBH, I don't know the inner workings of being in charge of something like this. Maybe there's a good reason for building up the flashy and keeping the worker bees' noses to the grindstone.

Then another part of me doesn't want to allow the DH and BF to rationalize it away... my friend was suggesting that maybe So-and-So is lazy and just doesn't want to work (NOT TRUE!!). They're also a little miffed at her for leaving in the middle of the work; the work will GET done, but not as well as the quiet, trustworthy, unassuming worker bee would have done it.

Sigh. I'm not good with drama.

Sorry this is so convoluted.

How I handled it was to tell friend that no, I didn't know, but that I found it impossible to believe that it was personal against her DH, that I was 100% sure from experience that So-and-So isn't lazy, and that there must be a very good reason because she's not the kind of person who bails on commitments. I also said I'd keep my ear to the ground for her, but that's pretty much a lie. I don't think my friend would take the truth well because she is (appropriately) very protective of her family and friends. So I don't plan on telling her.

Any suggestions for better ways?

ETA: Ideally So-and-So would be honest about the situation and friend's DH and BF would do some introspection and realize it's an area for improvement. Another reason for me to stay out of it. My friend told me that So-and-So mentioned self-esteem as one reason, but friend and her DH and BF completely misunderstood the meaning (as in, they think she feels she is doing a bad job - not that THEY are hurting her self-esteem with their actions). I didn't correct her.

Last edited by KayKay; February 15th, 2008 at 12:03 PM. Reason: More info
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  #2  
Old February 15th, 2008, 02:19 PM
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nonnymouse nonnymouse is offline
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Re: The Drama Du Jour

Trust your own judgment here and don't discount your hurt feelings or those of so and so. It sounds like you are handling it appropriately.

I didn't get the impression that this activity will be lasting forever-correct me if I'm wrong. So just handle it as you have been. It sounds like so and so (the quiet worker bee)already tried to be direct with them about how their choices were hurtful to her but they didn't want to hear it. That is their choice.

Good for her for stepping out of that role and not just plodding on letting them run over her. And good for you for only saying what you felt was right in regards to each of them.

Maybe wait until this particular issue has run its course and then talk to the organizers about approaching things differently so as to include more of you or handle how they focus on people more fairly. Are the organizers new to handling this sort of thing?

(Maybe next time you could give them names: ****, jane, spot etc. I think I kept the players separate but it was a little difficult.)

Hope my 2 cents helped.
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Old February 15th, 2008, 02:23 PM
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Re: The Drama Du Jour

You don't know anything for sure-- only that which has been repeated to you-- so it's not a lie to say you don't know. Anything you repeat will be gossip and it will blow up in your face because you'll be caught in the middle. And worse, both parties will think you are not trustworthy.

Everyone has to own the consequences of their own choices, even if that means that others will get a wrong opinion of you. Your opinion may be dismissed as being biased, you might be called nosy, etc.

Encourage the parties to talk, speak up at a meeting yourself and talk about how you personally feel excluded, but don't say anything to anyone else and don't be the spokesperson for someone else.
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Old February 15th, 2008, 02:35 PM
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Re: The Drama Du Jour

I, too, think you handled it right. I believe that if you had tried to tell her the truth, she would have been defensive about it and either taken it out on you OR put you in the middle of what could potentially be a very nasty scenerio.

What I don't understand is why she asked you about it in the first place. YOu have nothing to do with the project. If your friend really wanted to know the truth, she would call worker Bee herself and just simply ask. Of course, then she would have to find a way to take the truth without being defensive. I think she called you to "test" her fears (like her saying it was personaly against her DH and You telling her, no it couldn't be personal) Or for you to make her feel better about the situation (like presenting the worker bee as lazy, she was rationalizing the situation.)

I hate drama but I swear I am a magnet for it. I learned a long time ago that it does not pay to "try and help" especially when they ask for the help.
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Old February 15th, 2008, 03:11 PM
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Re: The Drama Du Jour

Quote:
Originally Posted by nonnymouse View Post
I didn't get the impression that this activity will be lasting forever-correct me if I'm wrong.
You're kind of right about it not lasting forever. Good point. But it's one of those things that builds on itself... next time, next year etc... and reputations are built, if you kwim.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nonnymouse View Post
Are the organizers new to handling this sort of thing?
Yes, they are. They're good people and (this is key!) VOLUNTEERS.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nonnymouse View Post
(Maybe next time you could give them names: ****, jane, spot etc. I think I kept the players separate but it was a little difficult.).
Sorry. You're right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nonnymouse View Post
Hope my 2 cents helped.
It did. Thanks nonnymouse!
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Old February 15th, 2008, 03:22 PM
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Re: The Drama Du Jour

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1dilwhosreal View Post
You don't know anything for sure-- only that which has been repeated to you-- so it's not a lie to say you don't know. Anything you repeat will be gossip and it will blow up in your face because you'll be caught in the middle. And worse, both parties will think you are not trustworthy.

Everyone has to own the consequences of their own choices, even if that means that others will get a wrong opinion of you. Your opinion may be dismissed as being biased, you might be called nosy, etc.

Encourage the parties to talk, speak up at a meeting yourself and talk about how you personally feel excluded, but don't say anything to anyone else and don't be the spokesperson for someone else.
As always... great advice 1dil. Yup. I'll keep my mouth shut.

I already know that my opinion is considered biased. I haven't been too shy about saying "Wow, that's great for you... I really wish I had been able to participate. What a great thing! I'm so sad that I'm on the outside looking in."

DH suggested I point blank say "Can I participate?" next time. So I actually did. My friend was talking "next time" and I said "Can I be part of it next time?" She hemmed and hawed and said that her DH and BF now don't feel they can ask "some" to join the group and not others. The original participation was random. Sort of one of those things - names got drawn out of a hat to form groups, then the leaders of one group (my friend's BF and DH) took their group on to do more.
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Old February 15th, 2008, 03:32 PM
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Re: The Drama Du Jour

Quote:
Originally Posted by grubby View Post
I, too, think you handled it right. I believe that if you had tried to tell her the truth, she would have been defensive about it and either taken it out on you OR put you in the middle of what could potentially be a very nasty scenerio.

What I don't understand is why she asked you about it in the first place. YOu have nothing to do with the project. If your friend really wanted to know the truth, she would call worker Bee herself and just simply ask. Of course, then she would have to find a way to take the truth without being defensive. I think she called you to "test" her fears (like her saying it was personaly against her DH and You telling her, no it couldn't be personal) Or for you to make her feel better about the situation (like presenting the worker bee as lazy, she was rationalizing the situation.)

I hate drama but I swear I am a magnet for it. I learned a long time ago that it does not pay to "try and help" especially when they ask for the help.

GAAAAHHHH!!! grubby - I think you know my friend! She definitely would be defensive. That's a huge reason I don't want to say anything, although I feel like I'm lying and not being a good "friend". But I just need to stay out of it. Yup. MMOB.

Friend's BF did call the Worker Bee but couldn't "hear" what she was saying, kwim? I think you're EXACTLY right about why my friend called me - to test her fears. While I'm excluded from their particular group, I'm friends with all of the players and speak frequently to the one who quit.

Yup. Mouth shut. Thanks.
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Old February 16th, 2008, 08:48 AM
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Re: The Drama Du Jour

I'm late, but I agree with all the other advice. Say nothing. Attempting to guide the emotions and thoughts of other people never works, unless you have an official advisory role like minister or therapist--and often, not even then. (Lord, how I know that.)

I'm all for taking stands on serious injustice, and I understand your yearning to make things 'right.' I'm that way too. (Have it with the ILs for example, want to 'make them see' what they've done to DH, against all rational evidence that this could ever be possible). And I've been in group situations where there was real injustice and the group--a church, a school, an office--wanted to look the other way and paint the victim/complainer as the troublemaker for bringing it up, rather than the perpetrator. I think groups of any kind are far too prone to this and I think that is very wrong.

But--against the grain for me!--I have come to think that hurt feelings and mild unfairness are far too subjective to start messing around in, that there actually is some good reason not to stir everyone up and sometimes to ignore mild 'injustice.' It's just too difficult to be sure you are right, and also too difficult to know whether the pain caused by stirring the pot will be better or worse than the injustice to begin with. 'The cure is worse than the disease syndrome.' Not true if some group member is stalking another one, but could be true if one is hurting another's feelings by being bossy.

But how anyone ever managed to mind their own business before there were internet boards to vent safely is a mystery to me!!
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Old February 16th, 2008, 10:43 AM
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Re: The Drama Du Jour

LOL.

Yeah... the urge to fix the "injustice" is hard to fight. But you're right that it's not really my place to decide if there's really an injustice. One of my "rules of complaining" is that I try not to do it unless I have an idea for a solution to the problem I'm complaining about.

I'm not really in a position to see all sides of the equation; I don't know what I'd suggest to my friend that her DH do. So....

There are other people in better positions, so I'll leave it to them.
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Old February 18th, 2008, 11:34 AM
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Re: The Drama Du Jour

Just an update.... grubby wins the prize at guessing my friend's motivations!

Yup. She was testing. Absolutely can't handle the truth and doesn't even want to know it. Today during our walk, it was nothing but defensive posturing on her part, accusations toward the worker bee - questioning her work ethic etc. She is getting angry at the wrong people and ramping up. I made non-committal murmers, defending both her DH AND the worker bee, gently pointing out the holes in some of her logic but not offering suggestions about the "TRUTH". I even changed the subject around to a situation where *she* has been on the other side of the fence but no dice. She's unable to see it from another vantage point.

A flabbergasting comment on her part was "I'm so upset at how devisive everyone became", with the insinuation that those of us on the outside are responsible for that. Uh, yeah, it had nothing to do with you leaving us out in the first place. What awful people we are for feeling excluded!!

She complained that they don't have enough people (they didn't ask enough in the first place) and (this is great) how UNFAIR it is to the people who are doing it to have to work so hard since there aren't enough people. She said that they MIGHT have to ask the people who were excluded (God forbid! ) and wondered aloud if any of the excluded people would be interested in joining in. (as in "hint hint")

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! No. Thanks, though.

Anyway - thanks for listening. It really helped to talk through it here. I was very able to stay detached and level-headed this morning. Otherwise it could have evolved into a fight... and let me tell you... my friend can hold a grudge almost as long as I can.

Last edited by KayKay; February 18th, 2008 at 11:39 AM. Reason: Clarify a sentence.
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